Posted: Wed 30th Mar 2022

£25m to kick-start free school meals for all primary school children in Wales

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Mar 30th, 2022

The Welsh Government is to invest £25m in school kitchen and dining infrastructure, as part of plans to roll out free school meals to all primary school children in Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The policy is part of the ‘Co-operation Agreement’ between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru, which will see free school meals extended to all primary school pupils over the next three years. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

From September, some of the youngest children in primary schools will begin receiving free school meals as the policy is introduced in a phased way. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Working with schools and local authorities, the Welsh Government will plan and prepare the infrastructure needed for all primary aged pupils to receive free school meals by September 2024. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Revenue funding of up to £200m has been set aside for local authorities to deliver the commitment, with £40m to be provided in 2022-23, £70m in 2023-24 and £90m in 2024-25. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Together we have made a joint commitment that no child in Wales should go hungry and that every child in our primary schools will be able to have a free school meal. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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“We are facing an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis. We know younger children are more likely to be living in relative income poverty, which is why the youngest of our learners will be the first to benefit. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“This cost-of-living crisis is being felt by families all over Wales – extending free school meals is one of a number of measures we are taking to support families through this difficult time.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Leader of Plaid Cymru Adam Price said: “From talking to other parents, it’s very clear that families need as much support with living costs as possible, especially given the additional financial challenges people are currently facing.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Today’s announcement begins the roll-out of a policy that will make a real difference to many across the country.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“It is an important step towards fulfilling one of our key pledges in the Co-operation Agreement and an example of how constructive joint working is making a real difference on the ground.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“This new capital funding supports the start of the introduction of free school meals for all primary school children.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“It is also part of a wider agenda to use those powers we do have in Wales to tackle child poverty, which affects a third of our children.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Removing the stigma associated with having a free lunch will mean that children receive a healthy meal at a formative stage in their development – hungry children cannot learn or achieve their true potential. Together, we’re delivering for Wales and making a difference.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


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